By CCTV reporter Han Peng
The city of Khorgas, once a staging post on the ancient Silk Road, is
becoming a strategic land port on the border with Kazakhstan. Three years ago,
the Chinese government upgraded the city to a special economic zone to boost its
development. The city now plays a key role in China’s links to Central Asia.
Khorgas is at the edge of China, but for many it’s become the center for them
to ply their trade.
Since early in the morning, thousands have crossed the border to do business
Some are already becoming “China hands”.
While others have learned some survival skills, and can’t wait to try their
luck in this new lucrative market.
Kazakh Businessman said, "Kazakh food seems very popular in China now. We’re
trying to make some money out of it. We earn about 1,000 dollars a month."
The Entry and Exit Hall grows packed with increasing number of people,
looking to do business on the other side of the border.
Over the past few
years, a dramatic increase in the flow of people and cargo in this crucial land
Liu Fei, staff of Khorgas Border Inspection, said, "A decade ago, there were
about 300,000 people crossing the border, but last year it was triple that, with
a record high of 1 million."
Coming out of the Customs, welcome to the Xinjiang version of “Wall
Here, street vendors bargain with customers, exchanging US
But that will soon change. China and Kazakhstan have just officially launched
a direct currency exchange program, while pilot programs are already underway in
the other four Central Asian countries.
The burgeoning economic ties are spurring businessmen like Adlabek Khalihabek
to invest in ambitious projects in the city. The one under construction, as he
believes, will be a game changer in the region. It’s a permanent Sino-Kazakh
trading center, the first ever such project, jointly ventured by China and
Adlabek Khalihabek, project manager of China-Kazakh “Gold Gate Project”,
said, "Now people only trade by traveling back and forth carrying luggage. But
with our project, which will be completed next year, people from both sides will
be able to settle down in hotels and trade in their booths and offices right
here in our building. It will accommodate around two thousand companies.”
CCTV reporter Han Peng said, “One day in Khorgas is enough to feel the pace
of change everywhere around you. But it’s not just about geopolitics. On both
sides of the border, there are millions of people, each with their own faith,
struggles and aspirations. The revival of the Silk Road has the potential to
change both the landscape, and their lives.”